My family and I were convinced by a Kaiser Physical Medicine doctor to have a lumbar steroid epidural injection in the doctor's office with no fluoroscopy when I was just 16 years old. I had minor back pain from trying to compensate for decreased flexibility due to short and tight hamstrings. All I wanted was to be able to do the things I never could.. gymnastics, dance. Instead of being sent to physical therapy, I was sent straight to physical medicine, whose first treatment option was the steroid epidural. On injection day I laid down in the doctor’s office facing the wall with the doctor sitting behind and my mother to the left. Shortly after the area was numb, she started the injection. I felt intense pressure and then horrible sharp pain at the injection site. The doctor commented many times that she could not find the epidural space and kept re-inserting the needle again and again. All the while, I am screaming for her to stop, screaming at the top of my lings.. the pain was like nothing I had felt before. She just told me that I should only be feeling pressure and continued to poke me with the needle. When my mother pleaded with her to tell her if she found the epidural space, she refused to answer. When she finally stopped, after I screamed enough that she had to, the pain stayed. The pain was new, intense and overwhelming. It had gone from a 2 to a 9 out of 10 in just those few minutes.. minutes when she refused to stop re-inserting a needle without x-ray guidance into my spinal column. I was bedridden until I discovered narcotic drugs. Then I could function at least.. but they pumped me so full of drugs that I went from taking vicodin to methadone to oxycontin all the way to the 75mcg Duragesic Fentanyl patch. All the while regularly visiting the ER and Urgent Care during flare-ups for shots of morphine and demerol.. in doses that were incredible. My family took Kaiser to court... but we ended up losing the case because there were no other cases of this at that time, and no way to prove that the injection caused the new debilitating pain. They called it a coincidence. I am now 29 and have tried everything under the sun, but have not found anything to keep it at bay for long. I am off the medication, but lose entire nights of sleep regularly, and have not had a moment that I was not in pain since I was that 16 year old innocent teenage girl. I only wish we hadn't agreed. Why did we think it was necessary? I wish I could go back and run out of that room screaming.
If anyone has had any luck with their medical malpractice suits, I would love to hear about it. I just can’t believe how many cases there are now. Because I honestly have not looked at anything relating to this in 10 years or more. I just couldn't, tonight was the first time.. and I am amazed to hear so many stories just like mine.